It was curiously appropriate that Rick the Rock of Room 214 headlined the return of my favorite annual event, Jammie Night, from its three-year pandemic hiatus. After all, Rick is the story of a triumphant return and nothing could have been more apropos to the glorious renaissance of Jammie Night.
Jammie Night, aka Prime Time Reading Night, which takes place at Mallett Elementary School, has ingredients that would be the envy of any event. For example, it is comprised of an actively shared love of reading, widespread community support, partnerships, great authors, a great crowd, amazing decorations, and pajamas.
Here’s how it works: the Mallett community comes back to school at 6:00 in the evening – parents, kids, teachers, librarian, principal, all dressed in pajamas for an evening of read-alouds. I produce a children’s book author. The evening starts with that author reading her book to the assembled throng in the gymnasium, which has been lavishly decorated around the book’s theme. Afterwards, families can either go listen to one of five different community readers in five different classrooms, read together in the gym, or purchase a book and have the guest author sign it. The evening ends with the author reading a second book to the whole audience and then concludes with goodnights and more book signing.
The event, which is more than 20 years old, was last held in 2019 with the fabulous Ryan Higgins. For 2022 I had signed up the great Julie Falatko to reignite an event which had lain smoldering like a dormant volcano.
Arriving at the school Meg and I found that the the gym had been decorated in colossal fashion.
This volcano actually had a smoke machine inside it. Notice Rick being hurled from it in true pyroclastic fashion.
The audience filed in and soon it was time for me to introduce Julie.
She hit the ground running!
The audience was enthralled.
Many children responded to her challenge to come up and “pose majestically” just like Rick.
Next it was time to sign books.
Note that Julie had brought the real Nature Finds shelf people with her.
A photo with the author? Sure!
Bringing the real Rick was sheer genius.
Captivated by the celebrity Rock. Aww!!
And who was it that brought Ruth Chan’s incredible illustrations to life in the gym? None other than Mallett’s amazing librarian Arika Galkowski. It was a triumphant return for everything and everyone that Jammie Night belongs to.